Rescue Journal

morning crises at saints

Alison  ·  Feb. 4, 2007

the manure pile was smoldering this morning, i called the fire dept and they came and opened it up and hosed it down. we are so lucky and i am now scared s###less, so i have arranged to have the pile removed and we will start over again but safer.

thank you god for keeping the barn and animals safe. and thank you for kind firemen too.



what he explained to me was, it could burn itself thru the pile and create a cavern but they usually don't burst into flames, but no guarentee and we should watch it carefully.


Manure, as it decomposes, produces heat. Our manure is mixed with wood shavings from the stall floors and bunny room, and the combination produced a grey steam which I thought was smoke (but the firefighters tell me is not) and decomposing manure produces a silver-grey product which I thought was ash. I poked around, saw ash, saw grey smoke, felt the heat and drew the logical conclusion. (Need I mention, I'm also a non-farming person! DUH! - just like I've never been able to understand why baled hay, if it gets wet, will spontaneously combust!! It defeats logic!!).

And I feel like a real twit because some of us noticed the problem yesterday at the end of the workparty day and I said "I'll go tell Carol" . Somewhere between the pile and the house I got waylaid and - poof - the thought was completely erased from my mind until I went out to the barn this morning to feed the animals. It could have been a devastating lapse of memory, and I'm just thankful it didn't burst into flame overnight - although the firefighters tell me there is virtually no risk of this but "never say never".

We now have three new fire extinguishers, a new hose and sprinkler and nozzle, two new manure forks, and plans to eliminate the problem altogether.


It's Spontaneous Combustion. The hay in the manure pile produces bacterial fermentation, causing heat. Often it's hot enough for self-ignition.


Judy B

What happened - why would it be smoldering? This is a honest question from a non-farm person. :) Glad everyone is safe!